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Brianna Angelakis graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 GPA and is currently on her way to do the same at college. Ever since she was little, her family told her that she could achieve anything and that her opportunities in this world are endless. This has led her to acquire a competitive drive that is unnatural to some, but it has brought her to a point where she is able to create magnificent and thought-provoking art for her viewers to enjoy. Without the constant support of her family she would not have been able to pursue her dreams and be the strongly ambitious artist she is today.
ToonariPost (TP): What is it about your subject matter that keeps you going back to it?
Brianna Angelakis (BA): I feel like there’s an endless number of ways a problem can be solved. I tend to look back at past paintings of mine, and I just have this urge to revisit a similar, sublime world with a figure I can relate to and the viewer can connect with. Even now, I’m working on an entirely different type of piece, and I have this indescribable need to revisit that natural world found in my past paintings.
TP: How do you take inspiration and translate it into your paintings?
BA: Because a lot of my inspiration stems from the Romantic Period in combination with Feminism, I tend to place my (usually) female figures in sublime environments like the ones described by the Romantics. My painting “Neurasthenia” is a great example of a Gothic novel inspiration, such as Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, which also comments on the infamous “nervous disease” women supposedly suffered according to patriarchal society. With dark, twisted hair, the figure evokes an unknown, female strength onto the observer.
TP: Which of your pieces were the most difficult and why?
BA: All of my pieces are difficult in their own way, and every piece is a problem that needs to be solved. The size alone for my painting “To the Lighthouse” at 30″ x 40″ was an entirely new level of difficulty because I had never worked on a piece that large before – in addition to the fact that the painting contains two figures and an overly detailed environment.
While I carefully planned the composition for “To the Lighthouse” and the final product is relatively similar to my original design, other pieces become something else in the middle of the painting no matter how long I spend on the initial design. I happen to make one or two marks which can alter the entire composition and concept of the painting – usually (and hopefully) for the better. The small and large decisions I make during the actual process of the painting are really significant, ultimately altering the successfulness of the painting itself.
TP: What aspect of your paintings do you hope all your viewers see and why?
BA: I hope the viewers of my works feel a connection with the figure. While every viewer will have a slightly different relationship with the figure I create, I want the figure to have a lasting impression through the expression on her face and the look in her eyes. While I spend a lot of time on the details found in the environment, the background tends to remain ghostlike in comparison to the strong figures in the foreground. The figures overpower their own surreal world, entering our reality.
TP: What do you hope viewers gain from seeing your artwork?
BA: I want viewers to gain a sense of self-awareness. The viewer may be studying my painting, but the figure in the painting also studies the observer, asking different questions and seeking an array of answers depending on the individual.
TP: Are there any subjects that you wish you could paint, but find them too difficult?
BA: I would love to attempt a large painting with a number of figures in awkward positions, not quite a Michelangelo, but something similar, yet more contemporary, which demands a lot of flesh. While it sounds difficult, I’m not one to shy away from a challenge. Maybe I’ll be attempting a piece like that sooner than I think. I just need to find a piece of wood big enough that won’t warp on me during the process!
TP: Who is the one artist (living or dead) that you would like to meet and why?
BA: Michelangelo hands down. While I adore Da Vinci and Waterhouse, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and his sculptures absolutely enthrall me. I can sit and study his works for endless hours. He mastered the figure, becoming a God-like creator unlike any painter I’ve come into contact with dead or alive. I can only dream of seeing his works in real life instead of on the page or the computer screen. His works are truly inspiring.